Its time Utes fans. Fall camp started last Thursday (8/5/10) for the Utes.
Players were dressed in helmets and shorts while running routes, throwing balls, and hitting pads.
I’ll be breaking down the Offense, Defense, and Special Teams:
The Utes have much fewer positions to fill on the offensive side of the ball this season (opposite story from last year).
QB – Jordan Wynn took over as starter for the Utes last season midway through the Wyoming game and hasn’t given it back since. He looks to be the undisputed #1 at QB pending any unforeseen injury or incredible improvement from #2 Terrence Cain.
RB – This position is the most stacked the Utes backfield has been since ’08 when they ran the Mack and Asiata one-two punch. With Sausan Shakerin at #3 in the depth chart, the Utes will have a running game that can’t be ignored, taking pressure off of Jordan Wynn.
WR – The Utes have lost all but 1 of their WR core from the ’08 BCS-busting season (Jerome Brooks) but have a lot of other talent (DeVonte Christopher, Luke Matthews, and Shaky Smithson) to fill the other slots with good targets for Jordan Wynn.
TE – Right now its head to head between Senior Brad Clifford and Sophomore Kendrick Moeai.
OL – This will be one of the best OL’s the Utes have had in a very long time. The Utes return 4-5 offensive linemen from last season with senior Zane Taylor starting at C.
Secondary – The Utes secondary is the section with the most question marks. The lost both FS and SS, Robert Johnson and Joe Dale respectively, and have filled one of the spots with Justin Taplin-Ross. Taplin-Ross got plenty of playing time last year with Dale injuries. Brandon Burton returns at CB and looks to be a shut down corner. The other CB spot is coming down to either Lamar Chapman or freshman breakout Conroy Black. Black is the fastest player on the team (Whittingham has a reputation for putting the team’s fastest player at CB (i.e. Bryce McCain))
LB – The Utes lost every starter at this position from last year in Sylvestor, Wright, and Gaison, but had such a deep talented pool at LB at the start of the ’09 season, that plenty of the guys being looked at as starters at LB this year, Matt Martinez, J.J. Williams, Boo Anderson, Chaz Walker, and Chad Manis saw decent playing time when the starters were hurt/needed a rest. Even Nai Fotu (starting LB in ’08) was moved to the D-Line to fill in for injured players and was expected to start at LB as most talented on that line, until he tore his ACL in Spring ball.
DL – The Utes year in and year out seem to be able to put together a great D-Line full of talent and speed. This year will be no different as they return Dave Kruger, Sealver Siliga, Derrick Shelby, Christian Cox, and Lei Talamaivao. To that already stifling D-Line, they add the 3rd (and some say, most athletically talented) Kruger brother Joe at DT.
P – Utes return talented sophomore punter Sean Sellwood.
K – Joe Phillips took over last season when Ben Vroman had accuracy issues with his field goals.
Utes have talented freshman Nick Marsh backing up both Punting and Kicking responsibilities.
With the talent the Utes have coming back and with the incoming talent filling needed spots, the Utes are in a great position to go out and pull the trigger each week. The offense is powerful and experienced, the defense is never far from form with Whittingham at the helm (being the Utes’ Defensive Coordinator for 15 years prior to being named head coach.
The Utes have a season schedule that is in their favor as well. Starting the season ranked at 24 with #15 Pittsburgh and #7 TCU both playing in Salt Lake City this year, could be great things for the Utes this season.